4-H stock
DRC_Zach Davis

Zach Davis

Where should a family begin when deciding to participate in the 4-H program? Below are some questions, which address a broad range of 4-H Club facts and information.

Why 4-H?

Raising great kids is a challenge, but it’s easier when you have a team of people behind you. 4-H clubs are groups of families that do just that. Through working together, families share knowledge and interests to help kids learn practical skills and important values.

What is 4-H?

4-H is a volunteer-led, informal educational program for youth ages 8-18 years old. It is for everyone regardless of his or her race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. 4-H is youths having fun and learning with their friends as well as families.

What do 4-H clubs do?

4-H clubs meet once a month. 4-H’ers run the meetings, using parliamentary procedure with some help from the adult club leaders. The youth president leads the meeting, but the whole club is involved in all decision-making.

During the meetings, youth discuss a number of items including community service projects, fundraising and club activities. 4-H’ers have a chance to work on their public speaking by giving presentations to the club.

What do you do in 4-H?

4-H has something for all kids. Young people in 4-H learn about citizenship, leadership, foods and nutrition, healthy lifestyles, veterinary science, mechanics and technology, horticulture, agriculture and more.

The 4-H program uses “learn by doing” methods of instruction. Each project the 4-H member selects according to their interest and ability is the program’s cornerstone. Projects involve setting goals and evaluating progress. 4-H has things everyone can do, in the city or country or anywhere in between.

In 4-H, youth “learn by doing.” Youth learn useful skills, how to get along with people and how to help our community and country. Some of the ways 4-H’ers achieve this are:

  • Project work — Members choose from over 30 different projects that spark their interests.
  • Demonstrations — Members learn to speak in front of others and present on their project work.
  • Recreation — Members play games and make new friends during club meetings.
  • Community service — Members help improve their community through engaging in service projects.
  • Contests — Members may choose to enter contests and compete throughout the year.
  • Camps — Members may participate in a day camp or overnight camp.

Who helps in 4-H?

4-H is a family program. Parents and family are important in 4-H. They help the youths with project work and other activities. 4-H members are also helped by volunteer leaders.

Every 4-H club needs one or more adult leaders. The leaders teach youth, organize the club, help officers and assist at meetings and orient new parents about 4-H.

There are various kinds of leaders in the 4-H Club:

  • Community club leaders are responsible for the general organization of the club.
  • Project leaders help members with project work, usually outside of club meetings.
  • Junior Leader 4-H teens work with an adult leader to give leadership to activities, events and projects.

Family involvement

Parents and guardians are important in 4-H. They show interest and concern for their children by attending meetings, serving as leaders, helping in club activities and serving on committees.

Volunteers

The safety of our children is our No. 1 priority! All volunteers who work directly with our youth are required to go through a volunteer screening process to become a registered volunteer.

Volunteers must apply, complete orientation and pass background checks. This ensures the safety of our 4-Hers and adult volunteers.

How to begin?

The first step will be to choose a club to visit with your family. It is best to visit two or three clubs, as each one is different. This will help you determine the best fit for your child.

Our website has a list of clubs and we are happy to visit with you, which we feel may be the best fit. It is best practice to email the club leader first to connect with them to let them know your family is interested in 4-H and would like to visit the club.

If you and your family are interested in learning more about 4-H or for more information on details on how to begin your family’s 4-H experience, visit our website at https://bit.ly/2h0S3MX, or call the 4-H office at 940-349-2884.

Enrollment for the 2018-2019 4-H year begins Aug. 15. To enroll, visit tx.4honline.com.

ZACH DAVIS is the agriculture and natural resources extension agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. He can be reached at 940-349-2889 or via email at zadavis@ag.tamu.edu.

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